Fika is sort of having a coffee break, but also adding something sweet to go with the coffee and the time to sit down and talk.
Swedes love their coffee strong and are among the heaviest consumers of coffee in the world. However, coffee on its own does not make a complete fika. Fika consists of coffee, tea or fruit cordial accompanied by something sweet. You can fika on your own, with colleagues, family or friends.
Cinnamon rolls or buns are sweet baked wheat pastry whirls with plenty of cinnamon, plenty of butter and lagom of sugar. Kanelbulle can be homemade or bought at almost any coffee shop, supermarket or gas station. Also, they are the perfect dessert after grillad korv med bröd as they are delicious to eat if reheated over an open fire when outdoors.
Non-baked round chocolate balls, sort of an old fashioned raw ball where the main ingredient is oats. Swedish people love oats, and in the average Swedish kitchen you don’t need to go shopping in order to make chokladbollar – the ingredients are always in our cupboards. To make chokladbollar is a quick fix for any occasion.
It is absolutely essential to eat semla in February. Traditionally on Fat Tuesday, which we also call Semmeldagen. Most Swedes have forgotten that it is a tradition derived from preparing for Christian fasting. Nowadays we tend to start the overindulging of semla in January, and keep going until the end of March. At least. A semla has everything. It’s a wheat bun with cardamom, filled with almond paste, covered in a layer of whipped cream and topped with icing sugar.
One of our favourites is a layered sponge cake covered with green marzipan and topped with a sugar paste rose. Prinsesstårta is perfect in order to celebrate just about anything. It was the favourite pastry of the three Haga princesses of Sweden in the early 1900s, and it’s forever going strong.
Småkakor are tiny cookies, most often with a crisp texture. They come in a variety of shapes; they might be round, square and sometimes layered, and usually in flavours of vanilla, chocolate or with a dash of strawberry, raspberry or apricot jam. Traditionally a good fika involves seven different types of cookies. Reasonable if you ask us.
This might be confusing. Peppar simply means pepper but a pepparkaka contains no pepper at all. Pepparkaka is Swedish for gingerbread. We like our gingerbread thin crispy – more like a biscuit than a bread and they taste of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and clove. Perhaps this is where the word pepper comes in – it is quite spicy compared to traditional Swedish food and in the old days, spicy was equivalent to peppery.
Credit: Sweden.se and Linköping Science Park
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